Intramuros, Manila: My 1st Street Photography Challenge, DPP’s “The Shutter Games”

DPP Shutter Games Street Photography Intramuros Manila

Shutterbugs hailing from different regions of the Philippine archipelago convened within the walls of Intramuros, a significant historical district of the nation’s capital, Manila, to compete in Digital Photographer Philippines (DPP) street photography contest. Two-man (and/or woman) teams made up of enthusiasts, hobbyists, amateurs, even pros, battled for the most captivating image under different categories. Clueless how contests like these works,  I put myself in the line of fire  and participated in this street photography challenge called, “The Shutter Games”.

June and I of the team, Sige Bye, resting after shooting the first 2 categories.

It wasn’t until a day before The Shutter Games when I heard of DPP’s on-the-spot photo contest. Not until my team mate’s team mate backed out the last minute, then inviting me as replacement. Hesitation came before assertion. I don’t know if I were rightfully equipped with an arsenal of skills, as well as tools, to be in this challenge – the only way to find out was to be at Bayleaf Intramuros during registration time, 6:00 AM.

DPP The Shutter Games Intramuros ManilaA photographer framing San Agustin Church.

First two categories were already given when I arrived. Energy and excitement filled the hallways. Participants were already locked, loaded and ready to fire away. Everybody headed out and roamed the cobblestone streets and narrow alleys within the walled city keeping a sharp eye out for their potential winning entries.

DPP's The Shutter Games Photo Challenge Intramuros ManilaJune took this photograph while I was taking the old lady’s photograph

DPP's Shutter Games Intramuros ManilaAn old lady in front of San Agustin Church

“Stick to the theme” – that was the game plan. However, marvelous architecture, and rich history scour the Intramuros atmosphere. In every corner and in every turn, there was a story to tell. In every peek at the viewfinder, you’ll see capture-worthy beauty and drama.  Not pressing the shutter button was hard to resist.

dpp shutter games intramuros manilaWatch out for these kids, they might be participating on the next street photography contest.

skateboarding manila intramuros shutter games dppskateboarding manila intramuros shutter games dppSkateboarding in Anda Street (someone added a “V” and “L”, now it’s Vandal Street)

skateboarding manila intramuros dpp MJ AcurinMJ Acurin  performs a stationary ollie.

Teams came up with different strategies in an attempt to capture a breathing image inside the walled city. Getting a pedicab able participants to penetrate faster the narrow streets of Intramuros while others took a calesa (horse-drawn carriage) ride for a more historical feel which may inspire their photographs. Many teams, including us, got on their feet for a walk around tour – it was slower but I guess walking gives a more up close perspective. Out there, it was every team for themselves.

intramuros dpp street photography the shutter games manilaPedicab driver waiting for a passenger.

Dpp shutter games intramuros street photography manilaCalesa ride in Intramuros.

In between shooting times, The Shutter Games participants were also encouraged to attend lectures from country’s top and finest photographers. After submitting the first two categories, we attended Jay Jallorina‘s talked about landscape photography, followed by street photographer, Ricky Ladia. It’s not everyday we get the chance to interact with the pros playing in the big leagues, that’s why, for me, these lectures were among the highlights of the event. I’d always keep in mind the lectures every time I think of or take photographs.

The Manila Collectible Co.  Inaul from Maguindanao Intramuros ManilaMaguindanao’s handwoven fabric called Inaul.

Manunggul Jar of Palawan The Manila Collectible Co. Intramuros ManilaReplicas of a Manunggul Jar, a container, made of clay and soil, used for the remains of the dead.

A man playing a traditional gong caught my attention and behind him was a signage which read, “Shutter Games participants… Free Coffee”. Seeing the words, “Free” and “Coffee”, were enough to make us take a break, and come inside The Manila Collectible Co. to have a cup of freshly brewed Kalinga coffee. My eyes opened wide when I saw their vast collection of products ranging from food, textiles, sculptures, coffee, of course, and many more. It was like a museum but you can buy the pieces as souvenirs. So whenever you visit Intramuros, it’s worth dropping by. No worries locating for The Manila Collectible Co. since the shop is conveniently located just behind the Manila Cathedral. And that’s where we were headed to take photos of the our final two entries for the contest.

Speaking of the entries, I would like to share the photos we submitted for the 3 categories:

DPP Shutter Games entry Gateway to the past Intramuros ManilaEntry for the category, “Gateway To The Past”

DPP Shutter Games entry for Contrast of the old and newEntry for the category, “Contrast of the Old and New”

DPP Shutter Games entry street photography it's more fun in the Philippines intramurosEntry for the DOT’s (Department of Tourism) category, “Street Photography. It’s More Fun In The Philippines”

We came, we saw, but we didn’t conquer the grand prize of 75,000 Pesos. But, what I conquered was the fear of coming to competitions like these. I was nervous. DPP’s The Shutter Games was the first on-the-spot street photography I attended my entire life. I’m not the competitive type of photographer, as I would prefer sitting down for hours, just appreciating the scenes, then start shooting. It was a whole new ball game this time wherein you have to take a photo for a certain category under time pressure  Eventually, I learned that it’s not completely different from what I usually do, I just needed to be calm, observe, think, and execute. I guess travel and street photography are very much alike. You don’t know what to expect but it’s about capturing the essence – an image that will tell a story.

Thanks Digital Photographer Philippines for the wonderful experience and giving amateur photographers like me to prove ourselves in this craft. This experience made me more proud of my work. Cheers to the success of The Shutter Games, and we’re looking forward to more events. We’ll be there to support and participate.

Congratulations to all the winners and participants of The Shutter Games. To all the people we’ve met, we’ll see each other again next time.

intramuros shutter games dpp sige bye harcar panaghoy ng lente team

Top (L-R): Harry (Team Harcar), me (Sige Bye!!!), Middle: Carla (Team Harcar), Bottom (L-R): Kaye (Panaghoy sa Lente) and June (Sige Bye!!!)


Here are a few tips which could help when you join on-the-spot photo contests:

1. Research about the location before heading out. This may help you make a shotlist on your mind.

2. Wear comfortable clothes.

3. Explore.

4. I brought all my equipment so my friends and I could share what we need, but I also brought a small camera bag that I will use on the shoot proper so I wouldn’t need to bring everything while walking.

5. Bring a laptop. Just in case judges would allow minimum editing. A little cropping could make a big difference. (The entries posted here have adjusted tones and have been cropped. Our original entries came straight from the memory card)

6. Communicate.

7. Be calm, observe, think, and execute.

8. I would like to quote a line from Sir Ricky Ladia’s lecture: “There are no rules in photography, but only parameters”

9. “A beautiful image always tell a story” – this one I got from my former boss, Raul Montifar, who also mentored and taught me how to see the light in a more sophisticated manner. He taught me a lot. Thank you, boss Raul.

10. Be extra careful to avoid accidents. Keep an eye out for passing vehicles, and thieves. Be aware of your surroundings.

11. For update on DPP events, like DPP Magazine on Facebook.

12. Please LIKE BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook

13. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

14. Enjoy shooting and always be safe.

Intramuros Manila DPP Shutter Games street photography contest


28 thoughts on “Intramuros, Manila: My 1st Street Photography Challenge, DPP’s “The Shutter Games”

  1. Great story! I think that photography will be the next “sport”. The prospect is very interesting because it is a fusion of art, culture, science and entertainment. The good thing about this activity is you can document your work and share them through the various media available. Keep it going and enjoy the experience.

    • Hello Sir Geri,

      Oo nga, e. But it’s ok, saya din naman ng experience. Congratulations din po. Kinekwento ko sa mga kaibigan ko yung team niyo. Sa dami ng naggagandahang equipment sa Shutter Games, may gumamit ng CELLPHONE at ang twist, TOP SCORERS pa sila. Best example ng “Wala sa pana, nasa indian”

      Congratulations din po, Sir Geri. See you on the next events.

      • Yeah masaya and super intense ang feeling dahil sa live scoreboard (although mabagal ang updates hehe) Thanks din sa kwento mo about our team, and korek ka jan, yan mismo tagline namin sa club namin PnSers – Its not the bow, its the Indian. Maybe next game cellphone ulit kami haha!

  2. Hi Jed, your photos always exude heart, may photo contest man o wala … kasi i know you just love what you do, and that is the most important thing. congratulations pa rin to you and your teammate … love your third entry it spoke beautiful camaraderie and simple fun … what WE Pinoys are all about! — (tita) April

    • Hi Tita April,

      Thank you very much for the support, I really appreciate it. It’s actually not bad for my first time, to be in 2nd place, rise above the other entries, it was an honor. Once again thank you very much. =)

  3. Sir kayo pala yung naka-sama namin sa Table nung Lunch time… hehehehe, sayang nga yung entry dun sa Category nang DOT same concept lng nung Nanalo na Dating tga Advertising… anyway late msg. man eto pero, Astig etong blog mo.. Congrats and keep Up.. \m/

    • Hello Aaron,

      Pasensiya ka na ‘di ko maalala kung sino kasama namin sa table, pero oo, may kasama nga kaming ibang group nung lunch. Oo, nakita ko nga yung nanalo. Maganda yung gawa nila.

      Salamat sa pagbisita sa blog. Congrats din sa inyo nung Shutter Games. Kita-kita tayo on the next Photo contest. Congratulations. =)

  4. Pingback: Kalibo, Aklan: “AKO Photowalk 2013″, Street Photography With Aklan Kamera Org | Biyaherong Barat

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